For the past 100 years mechanical “Tripods” have governed the Earth. While the majority of human beings have complacently accepted their authority, 12-year-old Will wonders what/who the tripods are, and what really happens during the mysterious capping ceremony (a rite of passage all adolescents partake in where the Tripods insert a metal skull cap). A wandering vagrant (Ozymandias) provides Will with shocking information that starts his frantic chase to the White Mountains.
This futuristic “War of the Worlds” for the jr. set spawned an early 1980’s comic strip (boy’s life) and TV series. The book is thrilling, with close calls and nail-biting scenes as Will tries to outrun the tripods. The second book, The City of Gold and Lead is more daunting; Will and some comrades infiltrate into the tripods’ city, and are subject to slavery and abuse. The moral dilemmas Will faces should give you some good material for discussion.
The story concludes with The Pool of Fire.
I read the prequel: When the Tripods Came, after both The White Mountains and The City of Gold and Lead, and other than the initial chapter, found the book dull. You’re better off waiting to read When the Tripods came till after you’ve read the others, and unless you’re a serious “tripod” fan, skip it all together.